A new website can either generate excitement or a feeling of dread for those responsible with the task of making it happen. For businesses without an internal marketing resource, creating or refreshing the company website can very often find itself on the bottom of the 'To Do' list. Where do you even start to find the time to plan content, cobble together the copy, source images let alone decide who will create your site, whilst you are doing your day job.
Having had the pleasure (in most cases) of being involved in numerous new website and website redevelopment projects here are my top tips to help you to kick start your project.
Too many websites lose sight of this – you may be high tech and flashy but are your clients – will they be able to navigate their way around your site? Similarly, you may like words and lots of copy but do your clients? Think carefully about your target audience what they like, dislike and don’t lose sight of the fact that your website must appeal to them and not you. It’s great to stand out from the crowd but only if it’ll appeal to your chosen audience. Establishing this from the get-go will help you to determine the content you should feature.
Start with a list or a plan (I’m a big fan of lists and the sense of achievement you get when you’ve ticked something off and completed it).
Hopefully by this stage you’ll have researched the competition and have an idea of what you’d like your site to look like. Here’s a few lists you could compile to get you started:
Sites I like and don’t like
Website goals - what do I want our customers to be able to do on the site? (Make a purchase, make an enquiry or booking, see my social media pages, see where our office is, read our reviews, see our latest news, etc.)
What words and phrases will my customers be searching for online that may lead them to my services?
What information will my customers want when they reach my home page - service information, reviews of my services, contact details, etc.?
Ask yourself if you want to use your current branding and have a website in line with existing materials or if you are looking for a new look. Putting pen to paper and starting to get your thoughts down will really bring your project to life.
The answer to this depends on a number of factors including budget, time, skillset and expertise. There are some fantastic sites available to help you create your own site for very little money but unless you have a lot of time, an eye for detail, an understanding of what search engines look for and some creative flair I would highly recommend you use a professional. It will be well worth the investment in the long run.
At this stage if you are looking to use a website designer shop around – meet with a few. Talk to them about your business and what you are looking to achieve. Make sure you find someone who gets your business and shares your vision. Having selected a designer, they should guide you through the development process.
If, however you are stretched for time and prefer concentrating on the day-to-day running of your business to project managing a new website you can call in some extra marketing support to get the job done so your business can reap the rewards!
Of course, being a total marketing geek and loving the challenge of a new website project, I’d be happy to help. If you’d like to talk through your website project, then please give me a call or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.